Customer Service: What Are They Thinking?
July 5, 2010
One simple question, but I still haven’t received an answer. One of the following gripes is simply poor set up of a customer service IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system.
But the second? (for the record – the original title to this was going to be WTF are they thinking,,, without the short form)
Well, I support being sure of information, and being sure of security – but there comes a time……
First let me back up with two background facts;
First, Yes I am married, but my wife uses her maiden name.
Secondly, just about three years ago we purchased my daughter a cellular package from Solo Mobile here in Canada. She was still a minor at the time, so the purchase was not in her name. And in this case it was my wife who went with her to get the phone, (but it could have just as easily been myself with the same following problem)
Did you notice that I stated; just about three years ago? We knew that we had purchased it around the beginning of her school term at the time. Meaning that sometime between August and October of this year that three year anchor (sorry, contract) is expiring.
At least with some carriers here, you also need to give three months notice that you are letting a plan expire – if you don’t, the carrier just rolls over the same plan and same phone at the same price on a month to month basis.
You can see the beginning of where I am going!
The supposedly simple question: What is the exact date that this plan is finished so this old phone can be allowed to die?
I could not find that information on the monthly statement, I could not find it on the electronic customer service portal either.
So I had to call their customer service line. Strangely enough – service only until 6 PM, so I had to call at lunch.
Their IVR system had “press 1-2-3” prompts for seeing phone usage stats, upgrading or adding features, support and other prompts. Buth there were none for my question; when does this plan terminate!! There was no press a button prompt to get to a human either. Although on one positive note, there was a prompt to reverse up the IVR tree each time I reached a dead end in my button pushing, so I was not forced to hang up and re-dial each time.
That was the minor IVR annoyance – now here is the kicker
1) I called customer service from that cellular phone
2) I had the credit card number it was purchased on
3) I had the monthly statement in front of me
3) I had the account ID number
4) I had the client ID number
When I finally found the correct sequence of prompts that got me to a human?
Their customer service still refused to speak with me because my name is not Heather!!!
And as hard as it sounds, there was worse!
Well two things were worse, one was the following statement, and the second was that I was not smart enough to take advantage of it when I was arguing with them.
“.. if Heather is there, just put her on the phone to prove its your plan you want to terminate”
What I should have done?
I should have handed the phone to the woman in the office next to me and just told her;
‘Just say you’re Heather, date of birth is dd/mm/yy when they ask for the Mothers maiden name it is xyz.’
The IVR was an annoyance, no more.
But what in the hell information do I need to cancel a cellular phone? A faxed copy of the wedding certificate? (or, god forbid, a death certificate?)
We are not the only family in the world where the ‘dear wife’ (forgive the sarcasm) is not Mrs. Elliot Ross. Many women keep maiden names (default in province of Quebec in fact) and many hyphenate.
Dear Solo, a ‘security’ policy that you won’t talk to me because of my name, but would talk to the woman beside me if she said the right name, needs just a little bit of work.
UPDATE – 24 September – Solo has screwed with us again –
Since they would not talk to me, my wife had to call – (copy paste of the email below with addresses redacted) Solo documented the call and suggested calling again on the termination date to confirm.
When my wife called?
They said 30 days notice required and we were on the hook for another 30 days. Notice the email date – July 06!
Sent: Tuesday, July 06, 2010 15:38
To: Elliot Ross
Subject: RE: Solo won’t talk to me
Photo Credit nathangibbs via flickr